Above the fold:
*Foodgrain production in India is at a three-year low, following a 10% shortfall in last year's monsoon.
*Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated that the Foreign Direct Investment limit in the defence industry could go above 49%, as India seeks to stop becoming a net importer.
*Modi's infamous monogrammed suit received a Rs 1.21 crore bid on the first day of an auction for charity.

The Big Story: Modi's outreach
In one sentence: The PM has been reaching out to parties and politicians in the Opposition to ensure the Budget session is not disrupted, but much work remains to be done.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar. This week he is attending the pre-wedding ceremony of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's grandson, who happens to be marrying Rashtriya Janata Dal head Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter. Meanwhile, finance minister Arun Jaitley in the last couple of months has publicly met leaders of the SP, NCP, the former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The government may even reach out to Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Going off just that script, the government seems to have learnt its lesson from the Winter session of Parliament, and wants to ensure that the upcoming Budget session goes off without a hitch. This is because a bad session could endanger everything: before even the Budget has to be considered, Parliament has to pass Bills that will ensure the government's ordinances remain in law, or they will lapse.

In addition to the political outreach, Modi has spent the last few days undergoing a post-Delhi elections, pre-budget makeover. Two things stand in the way: his own party and an Opposition that sees blood in the water. For all of Modi's outreach, the Bharatiya Janata Party still has a hard time conducting floor management in the Rajya Sabha, and this won't be made easy by opposition leaders who see a window of opportunity to stymie Modi following the Delhi drubbing. Expect a riotous Budget Session.

The Big Scroll
Mulayam Singh Yadav's grandson's wedding is about as opportune a political stunt as possible for Modi. But did the Sharad Pawar meeting actually go anywhere?

Need to Know 1: No Greenpeace Gag
Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai, who was prevented from leaving India because the government was afraid of her informing other countries about the state of human rights, has refused to accept a deal with authorities to take her off the Lookout list. The government wanted Pillai to give an undertaking saying she won't "embarrass" India.

Need to Know 2: Coast Unguarded
After a Coast Guard officer potentially upended the government's story on the alleged "terror boat," authorities have now decided to pursue an inquiry against the officer for indiscipline. Meanwhile, Pakistan believes the revelation is proof that India violated international law.

*The Congress is having a hard time deciding whether to go with the TMC or the Left in West Bengal. In Bihar there's no option of going it alone.
*Mamata Banerjee is visiting Bangladesh today and tomorrow, with hopes that two key international agreements could be settled if she is willing to go ahead with them.
*The Haryana BJP is trying to douse a controversy after a state minister tweeted criticism of the chief minister.
*HDFC chief Deepak Parekh, at one point rumoured to have been Modi's pick for ambassador to the US, has made comments saying nothing has changed on the ground at the business level in India under the new PM.
*Where is Kiran Bedi? Not in the BJP office. 


*In the Hindu, Howard White and Radhika Menon argue that India needs to evaluate its programs before deciding what to put money into.
*Ajay Shah in the Indian Express argues that we can't settle for economic Band-Aids any more.
*In the Business Standard, Rahul Jacob says India's new GDP numbers are like "small men engaging in big talk."